Energy-drinks company Red Bull and mobile operator Cell C have taken the wraps off their telecommunications joint venture, unveiling aggressive tariff plans that should get consumers — and other telecoms operators — sitting up and taking notice.
The two companies launched Red Bull Mobile at a star-studded event in Johannesburg on Tuesday evening, promising users premium multimedia content and access to sports, entertainment and other events.
But it’s the new venture’s tariff structure more than the entertainment and multimedia content being promised that is likely to set tongues wagging.
Red Bull Mobile will offer two aggressively priced postpaid contract packages — no prepaid options are available at launch. The first contract, called RBM 100, costs R149/month; the second, RBM 200, is R249/month. Both products include free handsets, airtime minutes and bundled data.
Each package offers a choice of two phones, with Google Android-based devices comprising three of the four handsets available.
The RBM 100 package offers a choice between a Red Bull Mobile-branded Android smartphone with 2,8-inch touch screen called the RBM C and a Nokia 5230 touch-screen phone powered by Symbian.
The RBM 200 contract offers a choice between the Red Bull Mobile-branded (and Android-powered) RBM HD, which looks similar to the HTC Desire HD, and the Motorola MB525, a 3,7-inch touch-screen device also running Android.
The RBM 100 contract includes 100 anytime minutes, 50 text or multimedia messages and 250MB of data a month. The second contract includes 200 monthly anytime minutes, 100 messages and 500MB of monthly data. In both cases, consumers have to sign up for 24-month contracts.
Out of bundle rates are 40c/MB for data on the R149/month package and 30c/MB on the R249 plan; calls are R1,50/minute out of bundle, billed by the minute, day or night. Data bundles will be available soon after launch for subscribers who expect to use more than the data allocated in the contracts.
Red Bull Mobile will make use of Cell C’s new third-generation mobile network, which offers data access speeds of up to 21Mbit/s in ideal conditions. Cell C is spending more than R5bn rolling out the network.
At a launch event in Johannesburg on Tuesday evening, Red Bull showed its entertainment cred by having Faithless, a popular UK electronica and dance band currently touring SA, entertain the audience.
The new service, which will be available through Cell C stores from 25 February, is aimed squarely at youngsters between the ages of 18 and 29.
Cell C CEO Lars Reichelt says Red Bull Mobile’s tariff plans are “not about the price but about bringing energy to mobile”.
“To do that, we had to make it affordable,” Reichelt tells TechCentral.
It’s the first time Red Bull, which is headquartered in Austria, has launched a mobile service outside Europe.
Red Bull Mobile will offer streaming mobile TV featuring the latest extreme sports. Subscribers will also have access to music, photo, wallpaper, games and video downloads as well as news and updates on Red Bull-sponsored athletes and sports teams. These downloads are not zero-rated and count to subscribers’ data use.
It’s also promising subscribers preferential access to and first-right tickets for events such as Red Bull Racing and the Top Gear Live festival of motoring.
Red Bull Mobile smartphones will be preloaded with applications such as Red Bull Music Academy Radio and Red Bull X-Fighters. — Staff reporter, TechCentral